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August 23, 2007 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-08-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I

World

Emergency Aid from page 23

war, but with dance they became very
happy," she said. "The Ethiopian shoulder
dance is good for releasing tension."
During the war, Mazel Simone, 15, was
asleep when she heard "noise like fire-
works on Yom HaAtzmaut." She headed for
a shelter, but couldn't persuade her father
to come with her. "He said this is his coun-
try and he didn't want to be scared:' she
said. "Ethiopian people are very Zen."

Academy For Youngsters
Kiryat Yam, a pleasant seaside town near
Haifa on Israel's northern coast, was heav-
ily hit by Katyusha rockets during the war.
Many of its citizens spent considerable
time in bomb shelters, with little relief.
The children were especially trauma-
tized — some wet their beds, others were
frightened by loud noises, some couldn't
sleep or wouldn't leave their homes; vio-
lence rose, and students found it difficult
to concentrate on studies.
Enter the Academy for Youngsters, a
pilot program for 350 high-achieving ele-
mentary school students. It is supported
by JAFI and four non-governmental orga-
nizations; IEC funds lowered the cost for
the after-school program significantly.
Students with academic averages of 85
percent or higher were admitted to the
program after personal interviews. Then
they chose classes — many taught by
instructors from the nearby Technion-
Israel Institute of Technology and the
University of Haifa — in the fields of law,
medicine, veterinary medicine, commu-
nications, robotics, engineering and more.
The program began last November.
"I had a place to go study and learn new
things that helped me forget about last
summer," said Chen Shalev, 10, who studied
law this summer and hopes to be a lawyer.
"I had trouble sleeping for several
months after last summer," said Aviv
Laufer, 9, who studied veterinary medi-

cine."The first siren after the war, I didn't
want to walk around the streets or be out-
side. Only in the last month am I willing to
be at home alone."
His mother, Hila, 32, works at the zoo,
so he comes by his love of animals natu-
rally. She says Aviv worried about their
cat when they had to run quickly to the
shelter. She hopes there's not another war,
but says, sadly, she's not optimistic. She's
grateful for the Academy for Youngsters,
which has given her son tools for explor-
ing his interests and for healing his soul.
Aviv and his classmates serve as role
models for other students, who want to
raise their grades so they can participate
next year.
It's a win-win situation — students are
engaged and motivated, with increased
self-confidence and attention spans.
Violence is down, and there's pride in the
community.
Other cities are interested in the pro-
gram and there's talk of starting an acad-
emy for teens. JAFI will fund the program
through June 2008, with the municipality
and others picking it up afterward.
"This is helping to change the agenda
in Kiryat Yam," says Moshe Luzon, general
director of community centers in the city.
"We're not talking about the woes of war
and difficulties. The citizens will take
pride in these kids."

Detroit's Partnership Region
"Last summer, the Detroit Federation was
the first to say, 'We are here for you; what
do you need?"' said Estie Bar-Sadeh, a
leading psychologist in the field of trauma
and chair of the volunteer committee in
the Central Galilee, Detroit's Partnership
2000 region. "As quick as the first sirens,
we had $750,000."
The money was split between three
municipalities: Migdal HaEmek, Nazeret
Ilit and the Jezreel Valley Regional Council.

Aviv Laufer, 9, right, studied veterinary medicine at Kiryat Yam's Academy for
Youngsters. He practices taking a fellow student's blood pressure.

24

August 23 - 2007

Shiri Havkin's spice farm and natural cosmetics business was almost ruined by the
war. She's receiving help from economic advisers through a special program.

Half went to transport kids to camps in
central Israel away from the bombs; the
other half went to renovating community
bomb shelters, at least 10-15 in each town.
Still more funds are needed to fix addi-
tional bomb shelters.
"The partnership is one big family," said
Ziva Ohayon-Recht, partnership director.
"Our family in Michigan cares for us. Bob
Aronson [Detroit Federation CEO] picked
up the phone and offered support. Also,
the Family To Family program was initi-
ated then, and that provided about 400
connections [people] from Detroit to stay
in touch with us during the war."
Money from Detroit's IEC, which raised
$15.2 million, also went to trauma relief in
both the Jewish and Israeli Arab commu-
nities. Four Arab psychologists received
trauma training.
With IEC money, "the level of psycho-
logical training was upgraded, especially
in schools and hospitals," Estie explained.
"A lot of post-traumatic stress disorder
goes undiagnosed. The training helped
professionals identify children in need. It
was the first time school therapy was pro-
vided and that being reactive to stress was
legitimized."
As Estie says, volunteering doesn't
come as naturally to Israelis as it does to
Americans. Yet she's built a strong group
that responded with its own initiatives
during the war.
One project provided soldiers with basic
supplies. "We gathered people and called
on business, then organized packages and
buses for delivery:' she said.
"Another initiative was to identify fami-
lies who evacuated from farther north
— they came to our area first — and to
see what they needed. We offered toys,
home hospitality, laundry.
"That connection starts from the heart:'
Estie said.

Economic Boost
Shin Havkin of Rosh Pina in northern
Israel inherited her mother's spice farm
and business selling natural herbs, oils
and custom-blended lotions. Her cramped
shop on a hilly street beside her home is a
hodge-podge of tiny jars, small plastic bags
filled with spices or teas — and wonderful
smells.
Though she says she didn't know how to
run a business, her reputation grew in the
Israeli New Age community and she drew
many customers.
"The war was a big blow to business','
said Shin, who relied on the summer tour-
ist trade to boost sales. "And, like 6,000
other businesses in the north, cash flow was
a problem. The bank bounced checks [and
later forgave the penalties]. And because
war was not officially declared, my com-
pensation after the war was just one-fifth of
what the tourist business would have been."
Enter the Northern Galilee MATI, a
small business development center offer-
ing a range of tools and services to help
businesses thrive. The program is a col-
laboration with JAFI, JDC and several other
agencies. The IEC contributed $18.5 mil-
lion toward economic development in the
Galilee.
For about $100 a month, Shiri receives
counseling services to help grow her busi-
ness. She also obtained a one-time loan
of $4,750 to help with her cash flow. Now
she's working with a Canadian spa owner
who wants to offer her cosmetics in the spa
chain.
What if there's another war?
"I would have to sell my house," Shin said
simply. "I can't do this again. But, for now, I
am fulfilling my mother's dream." 11

Editor's note: An update on Partnership 2000

programs in the Central Galilee not related to

the Israel Emergency Campaign and on pro-

grams in Sderot will come in next week's issue.

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